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Round four of the safari championship this Saturday

sportslesliealleynechrisonealisuzudmaxThe Barbados Rally Club’s Chefette MudDogs Safari Championship is heading for an exciting conclusion, with points close in the battles for both the champion navigator and champion driver titles. Crews return to action this Sunday in the September Safari, round four of five in the 2013 championship.

Chris O’Neal and Leslie Alleyne (Isuzu D-Max) are the current leaders of the navigator and driver tables, returning to competitive action this weekend, having being route-setters for the previous round, the Sol Go Further June Safari.

O’Neal’s closest rival is Jeremy Croney, who finished second in March and April in the family’s CC Motorsports Suzuki Vitara, then 10th in June with Mark Western (Nissan Patrol); Croney is back in the Vitara on Sunday, with Sean Gibbs now navigating for Western.

The top five in the navigator standings are completed by Andre Murrell, Gary Mendes and Rorie McConney, who is 20 points behind O’Neal. Once dropped scores are taken into account, however, all three slip down the order, while Robin Hinds and Andrew Croney come into the mix and the spread of 20 points stretches down to eighth place.

A similar situation prevails in the drivers’ title chase. Alleyne leads Western by four points, with Dominic Straker, George Mendes and Gregory Dickenson complete the top five, with Dickenson 20 points behind Alleyne. In the ‘dropped-score shuffle’, Mendes holds on to his fourth place, but the others drop down, Audley Croney and Simon Bayley climbing the order and 20 points again stretching down to eighth.

Straker is switching seats to be navigator to Julian Kirton on Sunday, which adds yet another variable, while Rorie McConney’s absence will further shake up the navigator position. An unusually low entry in the Chefette Novice Championship looks set to allow navigators Jamal Brathwaite, Rasheed Mapp and Andy Williams and drivers Dave Gibson and Richard Hinkson to build on their earlier results.

MudDogs chairman Darnley Rayside, said: “The entry and the absence of some of our regulars is making the points race very exciting. I am looking forward to seeing everyone out this weekend and at the prize-giving on Monday. I must also say thanks to Barry Gale and for coming forward and sponsoring the event with some very practical awards.”

Route-setters for the September Safari are Richard ‘RC’ Daniel and Kreigg Yearwood. Crews are expected to arrive for scrutineering at Simpson Motors in Warrens, St Michael, by 7 a.m. on Sunday, with the first crew scheduled to leave the start at 8 a.m. Route one will take competitors through the island’s northern parishes to lunch at the Sand Dunes Restaurant on the Ermy Bourne Highway. Route two, through the eastern parishes, will finish at the Three Houses Plantation.

Following last Tuesday’s briefing meeting, Rayside said: “I talked to RC and he has promised a great scenic rally, that no-one should get lost on. However, I feel with Pete Bradshaw as route-checker, there will be a few challenging and entertaining tricks in it as well. Thanks to all of them for the time they have put in to set this event.”

The prize-giving for the September Safari will be held at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association Clubhouse at Searles, Christ Church, on Monday (September 16), once results are made final. (RB)

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